Women's News from the Web

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The Pool, women's site co-founded by Lauren Laverne, in crisis talks

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 00:49

Company’s director says it is ‘not over yet’ but staff say they are waiting for January wages

The online women’s magazine The Pool, which was co-founded by Lauren Laverne, is fighting for its future, with staff yet to receive their wages for January and management in talks to save the company.

The company has stopped commissioning freelancers following a backlog of complaints that bills had gone unpaid, while staff say this month’s salaries, which were due last Friday, have yet to arrive.

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Landmark case could overturn Northern Ireland abortion ban

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 09:25

Sarah Ewart’s action at Belfast high court aims to find law in breach of human rights

A landmark case at Belfast high court could find Northern Ireland’s abortion law in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The legal action is being launched by Sarah Ewart, who embarked on a long, fraught journey in 2013 when a 19-week scan showed that the baby she was carrying had a fatal defect, revealing that the brain and skull had not developed properly.

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Meet the 'cleanfluencers', the online gurus who like things nice and tidy

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 05:21

Marie Kondo may be the biggest name in decluttering, but Instagram is awash with cleaning experts with millions of followers

It may not be spring yet, but everybody’s cleaning. Or, at the very least, they are talking about it. It has only been a month since Tidying Up With Marie Kondo launched on Netflix, but the series, starring the Japanese organisation expert, has already become something of a phenomenon. It has sparked joy among some, and arguments about how many books you should have in your home among others (Kondo, controversially, caps her collection at about 30). It has also led to charity shops reporting a Kondo-related surge in donations as converts go on decluttering sprees.

Kondo, who shot to global fame in 2014 when her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was published in English, is probably the biggest name on the clean scene. However, she is far from the only person to have organised their way to celebrity. The past year or so has seen cleaning take on a new cultural cachet – particularly on Instagram. The social network is rife with hashtags such as #cleaningobsessed or #cleaningtime and people are amassing enormous followings with pictures of gleaming kitchen counters and sparkling floors. Fitness influencers and fashion bloggers step aside: it’s starting to look like bleach is the new black.

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From Le Pen to Alice Weidel: how the European far-right set its sights on women

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 00:00

In far-right populist parties across the continent, a new generation of angry white women are rising to leadership roles. Why are they turning to groups that have traditionally opposed feminism?

It was a chastening lesson for any woman tempted to join the cut and thrust of rightwing populism. After Corinna Miazga was elected to the German parliament in 2017 for the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, a male colleague suggested she would be better suited to being a pole dancer than an MP.

Miazga did not let it rest, getting her own back by telling a party conference of the lewd intervention by fellow MP Petr Bystron. “An ‘Argh’ went up in the audience,” she recalls. “No one could quite believe I’d dared to reveal this. Many people in the AfD were subsequently angry at me. They said: ‘We know you’re cross, but by bringing this into the public arena, you’ll encourage people to say we have a male-female problem in the party.’”

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It is a scandal that working mothers are 40% more stressed than other people | Chitra Ramaswamy

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 07:44

The only thing that lowers mothers’ stress levels is to work less – an option most women are unable to choose

Working mothers, let me tell you something you already know and are powerless to change no matter how many mumsplainers advise you to try mindfulness: you’re stressed. Eighteen per cent more stressed than other people. If you are working full-time and have two children, that figure rises to 40%. For single mothers it will no doubt be higher still. Anyway, as if you have got time for this when even reading about the stresses faced by working mothers is like a spa day. You have probably been interrupted by now and are once again up to your neck in the un(der)paid, undervalued and unending hard labour of meeting anyone’s needs but your own.

According to the largest survey of its kind, analysing measures of chronic stress in 6,025 participants nationwide, neither flexible hours nor working from home significantly lowered women’s stress levels. This goes against common thinking that flexitime is the answer to the stress induced by what used to be called “having it all” and has now resurfaced as the equally mythical “work-life balance”. What did have a positive impact? Working less. In other words, the option most women are unable to choose and the one capitalism will never recommend. How stressful.

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Leading UK child health body under fire over baby milk sponsorship

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 01:54

Royal College of Paediatrics urged to rethink conference funding amid claims deal contravenes World Health Organization code

The Royal College of Paediatrics has been accused of breaching World Health Organization guidance after it accepted sponsorship funding from baby formula companies.

More than 100 medics and 13 health groups have written to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), urging it to drop Nestlé, Nutricia and Danone from the list of sponsors for its first international conference, to be held in Cairo on 29 January.

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UAE's gender equality awards won entirely by men

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 01:38

Emirati authorities ridiculed on social media after Gender Balance Index awards announced

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have been ridiculed after it emerged that all of the winners of an initiative designed to foster gender equality in the workplace were men.

Certificates and medals were awarded by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, in the categories of “best government entity supporting gender balance”, “best federal authority supporting gender balance” and “best gender balance initiative” at a ceremony on Sunday.

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Women still have to use their frozen eggs in 10 years – or lose them. Why?

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 23:00

The original legal time limit may have been related to technology, but that has changed now, and so should the law

Fertility experts are urging the government to dump legislation that demands women who have frozen their eggs must use them within 10 years. After this time fertility clinics are obliged to destroy the eggs, irrespective of what the woman they belong to wants – unless she has been through the egg-freezing process because her fertility is compromised, which can happen for a number of reasons.

The law at present dictates that any woman who has had her eggs frozen for “social” reasons – that is, not medically indicated (for instance, she may not have met someone she wants to have children with yet) – has a maximum of 10 years in which to use them. Before we even begin to unpack the implications of such restrictions, though, the term “social” in itself warrants our attention. Pejorative is putting it lightly.

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The Guardian view on working hours: when more means less

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 08:36
A four-day working week is a step in the right direction, but only if both men and women take it

The poet Philip Larkin, no friend of feminism, wondered why he let “the toad work / Squat on my life? … Six days of the week it soils / With its sickening poison – / Just for paying a few bills! That’s out of proportion.” Six days a week was even then rather old-fashioned: most of the industrial world had moved on to a five-day, 40-hour week by 1970, after more than a century of agitation, and there was an influential body of thought which held that further progress towards shorter working hours was inevitable as well as desirable.

What went wrong? Was the movement towards shorter working hours just part of a future that has largely disappeared, along with flying cars and world government? It hasn’t entirely vanished. In fact, it keeps reappearing: most recently with the announcement this month by the Wellcome Trust that it is going to explore the possibility of a four-day week for all employees; in France there is a 35-hour working week, but most people end up doing five hours’ poorly paid overtime anyway. The Swedish companies that investigated the possibilities of a six-hour working day earlier this century have for the most part retreated from them.

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If young women are dying of shame about their bodies, we need a rethink | Suzanne Moore

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 08:36
1970s feminists taught us to examine our anatomy, but porn has sent us spiralling back to the past

God I miss pubic hair. During a recent bonding session with my teenager, we watched Carrie together. What is shocking now about the 1976 horror movie is not just how brilliant it is, – and brilliantly short – but also that opening shower scene. All that pubic hair on the teenage girls. “Where has it all gone?” I wondered, as my daughter shifted uncomfortably in her chair.

I thought about it again reading about why so many young women are reluctant to have cervical smears. The latest statistics are alarming; the worst for 21 years. Only 71.4% of women in England who should be screened are getting tested. Between the ages of 25 and 49, women should have a smear test every three years, and currently only 69.1% do. Coverage is better for older women, with more than 76% showing up for screening. Robert Music, chief executive at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said the figures were “highly frustrating and, coupled with rising cervical cancer diagnoses, an enormous worry”. Not to put too fine a point on it, cervical cancer kills. Yet, if it is detected early, most women are fine.

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Working mothers ‘up to 40% more stressed’

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 20:00
Shortening hours reduces pressure but flexitime and home-based jobs offer no benefit, major study finds

They may have had more than a sneaking suspicion that it was the case, but now working mothers have the data to back it up: they are indeed more stressed than other people – 18% more, in fact.

And that figure rises to 40% for those with two children, according to a major study that analysed 11 key indicators of chronic stress levels.

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Who are you calling a diva? It’s just another way of damning women | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:30

Why don’t men suffer from the spoilt monster tag? Double thinking, that’s why

It would seem that not only are high-profile lawsuits between celebrities and assistants becoming more common, increasingly they feature female stars. In 2013, Lady Gaga labelled her former personal assistant Jennifer O’Neill a “hood rat who is suing me for money she didn’t earn” in a case eventually settled out of court. Mariah Carey is suing Lianna Azarian for $3m, alleging that Azarian filmed her in order to blackmail her. Azarian is countersuing, alleging that Carey’s former manager, among other things, urinated on her while the singer watched (nice!). And so it goes on.

Aside from lawsuits, the general rule seems to be that, somewhere along the line, the celebrity boss gets denounced for being a diva. It’s as though, when things go wrong, the power imbalance between employer and employee is redeployed as a powerful PR weapon.

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Chloe Delevingne has cervical cancer smear test on live TV

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 08:24

Cancer charity co-founder has test on Victoria Derbyshire show in bid to combat stigma

The co-founder of a gynaecological cancer charity has had a cervical smear test on live television in a bid to combat the stigma around a health check that can potentially save thousands of lives.

Chloe Delevingne, the older sister of the models Cara and Poppy Delevingne and co-founder of the Lady Garden gynaecological cancer fund, has been campaigning to raise awareness on cervical cancer prevention after a smear test discovered abnormal cells when she was 21.

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Tories praise Queen's common ground 'Brexit speech'

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 02:17

Ministers laud monarch’s calls for respect for others that were interpreted as Brexit reference

Ministers have praised the Queen after she spoke about seeking “common ground” and “never losing sight of the bigger picture”, remarks widely interpreted as a veiled reference to the toxic debate around Brexit.

In a speech to mark the centenary of the Sandringham Women’s Institute (WI), the Queen spoke of the virtues of respecting other people’s points of view.

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Mexican woman jailed for miscarriage released after conviction is overturned

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 23:00

Dafne McPherson was accused of murdering her newborn and found guilty in July 2016, but an appeals court says evidence was flimsy

A Mexican woman who was sentenced to 16 years in jail after suffering a miscarriage in a department store bathroom has walked free after a court in the central state of Querétaro overturned her homicide conviction.

Prosecutors had accused Dafne McPherson, 29, of murdering her newborn, but an appeal court judge found that the scientific evidence used to convict her was flimsy.

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Scotland unveils plans to become world leader in gender equality

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 14:01

Proposals include offering free childcare and two months of paid paternity leave

Radical proposals intended to make Scotland a world leader in gender equality have been put forward in the first annual report from the country’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls.

The recommendations include offering two months of paid paternity leave, 50 hours of free childcare a week for all children aged between six months and five years old, and establishing a world-leading process for complainants of sexual violence.

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May proposes to extend new mothers' redundancy protection

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 09:07

Government consults on protected period lasting up to six months after return to work

New parents returning to work could receive greater protection from redundancy under government proposals.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will launch a consultation on Friday which will look at extending the legal protection against redundancy for pregnant and new mothers so it continues for up to six months after they return to work.

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Police arrest 19 people over FGM gang attacks on women in Uganda

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 03:36

Critics say police should have acted earlier on reports of forceful mutilation of more than 400 women in a month by armed groups

Sixteen men and three women have been arrested for allegedly aiding and abetting female genital mutilation (FGM) in eastern Uganda after reports of gangs attacking women in the region.

The suspects were taken into custody earlier this week after joint police and military operations in Kween district. The arrests followed local media reports of more than 400 women, some as young as 12, being mutilated by force by local gangs in the past month.

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Don't slate Kate, Duchess of Cambridge for her baby moan – she speaks for all of us | Zoe Williams

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 21:00

Rich mums get it in the neck for not knowing the burden of child-rearing, but she has always been pretty open about it

At a charity event in south London this week, the Duchess of Cambridge made an observation about parenting: “It’s so hard. You get a lot of support with the baby as a mother particularly in the early days, but after the age of one it falls away. After that there isn’t a huge amount – lots of books to read.” I wasn’t there, but I like to think she tailed off after “read …” expressing only with her eyes the unspoken wail: “I don’t want to read a sodding book about the magic of a two-year-old’s developing brain while it’s having a tantrum because its shoes are the same colour!”

The duchess has always been relatively open about motherhood, and spoken about the loneliness of it. While these are all anodyne, relatable statements, they are also incredibly courageous. If there is one thing mothers are even less allowed to do than complain, it is to have tons of money and then complain. It is the peculiar privilege of motherhood to be simultaneously idealised by society – in the sense that, if you don’t get round to it, you’re seen as deviant – and comprehensively slated for any sign that you are insufficiently appreciative. The ire always concentrates its force on the rich mother, who cannot possibly know the emotional burden of child-rearing, since she could always afford someone to “do all that stuff for her”.

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Iran arrested 7,000 dissidents in 'year of shame', says Amnesty

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 14:01

Journalists, lawyers, minority rights activists and anti-hijab protesters among those held

Iranian authorities arrested more than 7,000 dissidents last year in a sweeping crackdown that led to hundreds being jailed or flogged, at least 26 protesters being killed, and nine people dying in custody amid suspicious circumstances, according to Amnesty International.

Those rounded up during violent dispersals of peaceful protests in what Amnesty called “a year of shame for Iran” included journalists, lawyers, minority rights activists and women who protested against being forced to wear headscarves.

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